Metaphors and similes are an imaginative galaxy which greater minds than mine have explored. That doesn’t stop me gathering dazzling and original examples to enliven human exchange, expanding the choice of vigorous, beautiful ways to sharpen how we think, read, write and speak.

As neat and fierce as …

As neat and fierce as …

Something refreshing about this simile, beginning with the surprising combination of 'neat' and 'fierce' and then the even more surprising 'fairy castle'.  But indeed, they are neat with their expected enchantments and imagined lineaments and they are fierce with...

Collective noun for epithets

Collective noun for epithets

I like this collective noun for epithets, 'artillery' suggesting a quickfire delivery of pithy comments, with the additional charm of a military echo in the resemblance between 'epithet' and 'epaulet'. '... an artillery of epithets.'   Source: George Eliot, The...

The feeling of a cur

The feeling of a cur

Mrs Glegg, as you can see from this simile, is not the most empathic or kind of characters. Here she seeks an easy target for her general frustration by turning on her younger sister who has suffered the consequences of her husband's obstinacy.'"Bessy, I'm sorry for...

Swimming in circles

Swimming in circles

A fine simile for a wife who after a good stretch of marriage, still presses all the wrong buttons with regards her husband; here she is likened to a gold-fish who continues to believe they are swimming in a straight line despite a life time of circling the fish bowl....

The chill of indifference

The chill of indifference

Philip is a sensitive and admirable character in George Eliot's classic novel, who devotedly loves Maggie Tulliver.  He is hampered by disability and feels indifference acutely, here likened to a chill wind. '... and Philip felt indifference as a child of the south...

As irrelevant as…

As irrelevant as…

Poor Mr. Dickson, but what a strong simile for irrelevance in the brightness of daylight. 'Mr. Dickson leaning against the doorpost with a melancholy pimpled face, looking as irrelevant to the daylight as last night's guttered candle.'    Source: George Eliot,...

Someday the history of metaphor will be written and we shall at last grasp all the truths and misconceptions in which this intensely speculative subject abounds.  

Source: Jorge Luis Borges, On Writing, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2010, p. 45

A voice like …

I don't think I've ever heard such a voice, unless it's one or two smokers I know after a bad winter bronchitis.

'... a voice like a nut-meg grater.'   4...

Like opening tombs

Thoreau voices strong opinions and they can be refreshingly blunt and funny, though it isn't always clear that he means them to be humorous.  It seems he didn't draw too...

Lamps as luminous fruits

I would love to find this street where the lamps are like luminous fruits bursting with knowledge.  You would only have to walk under their light to learn something.

'The...

Crowding the canvas of life

George Eliot can pack a punch - rarely have human beings been so summarily dismissed as pointless wash outs.  May you never have to sit next to such a Miss...

Plucking chickens in Australia

One of the inventive elements of Logue’s metaphors is the way he mixes up eras, blithely planting a country called Australia in an ancient Greek context. And the idea of...

Authenticity as iron

Authenticity as something to be cherished in itself will come into its own in a world apparently awash with fake news and other flavours of fakeness. It’s a curious quality,...

The wave foreseen

A magnificent image of a proud and then crashing wave, thundering up a shaken coast, and used to signify the answering cheer of troops.

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Moon as feather

A lyrical description of the sun, the moon, and the dreams of an otter - that he might swim, unhunted and unhungry, down to the sea with his otter-son. The metaphor...

Milky metaphors

Milky quietude sounds like something to be welcomed, whereas a curdling whey of silence is to be escaped.  I like this double latte metaphor, turning over two sides of quietness.

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Beloved Sir Benjamin

The old, fat, warm-hearted cousin of the young heroine.  Both Merryweathers, he of the sun type, she of the moon. She's an orphan and he takes her under his wing,...

Glaze

What a magnificent description of the cracked coastline of a broken plate!

‘… breaks the plate into shards. The glaze hugs the porcelain clay tightly, a Cornish shoreline of white.’

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